At my last company, while optimizing the business processes, I had a ringside view of robotic process automation (RPA) in action. We used to work closely with the RPA team and identify process steps that are good RPA candidates and help build a business case for the automation.
In my current role, I’ve jumped into the ring and now delivering RPA solutions to our customers. I’ve started this blog to document and share my experiences around robotic process automation.
I’m both excited by the promise of what RPA can do, as well as feel let down by the infancy and immaturity of both the vendors and the practitioners. In the upcoming posts, I’ll highlight the key issues and suggest possible solutions to derive the benefits RPA has to offer.
Before I get to the dark underbelly of RPA, let me first present the rosy front.
Robotic Process Automation – The IT duct tape
RPA is like a versatile duct tape that can stick together applications that need to exchange data, but needed a human to do it. Just like a duct tape is a temporary fix that can last a long time with proper maintenance, similarly RPA solutions can be tactical solutions that are quick and cheap to implement, while the strategic IT initiative might take time or might never get prioritized.
RPA tools aid in extraction, manipulation, validation and exchange of data. They work with the current IT landscape without needing to change the underlying systems. At the simplest, they can mimic a user by controlling the keyboard and mouse. However most RPA vendors come with a lot of advanced ways for automating application interaction.
The promise of Robotic Process Automation
RPA tools can deliver great value by automating the long tail of automation needs. This results in the following benefits.